An experimental investigation of hollow cathodes for 30-cm Hg bombardment thrusters was carried out. Both main and neutralizer cathode configurations were tested with both rolled foil inserts coated with low work function material and impregnated porous tungsten inserts. Temperature measurements of an impregnated insert at various positions in the cathode were made. These, along with the cathode thermal profile are presented. A theory for rolled foil and impregnated insert operation and lifetime in hollow cathodes is developed. Several endurance tests, as long as 18000 hours at emission currents of up to 12 amps were attained with no degradation in performance.